Nuclear scare: how would you react? Students answer

If there was a nuclear attack close enough to affect you, that is imminent and you have less than an hour to prepare, how would you react and what would you do?

Recently, residents of Hawaii and Japan had the misfortune of having to respond to this serious question. For those of us here in Mankato, the likelihood of this community being the target makes little sense, but the Twin Cities is about 60 miles north and would be a realistic possibility. Much like with horseshoes and hand-grenade’s, that is way too close for comfort considering that our predominant winds are northerly. With this understanding, the question, “What would you do?” was put to fellow students.

The answers present a collage from serious to flippant. Nathan, a political science major, said, “I would get as far underground as possible.” While that idea has merit, how many places around Mankato can a person get very far underground within an hour?

Killian, a blogger, said, “The idea of [a nuclear attack] scares the heck out of me and makes me shake.”

Alex, a senior, simply said he would “embrace death.”

Yulia, a student volunteer from Europe, said, “I would become very sad, then I would call my parents and talk to my family as long as I could.” This was a truthful and realistic consideration shared by many.

John, who is from Mankato, said, “I would head for home and to my family to figure out what we were going to do.”

Jacob, an active Christian student, said, “I would pray for guidance.”

Some students had no response or didn’t want to think of such horrible things. Can we blame them?

This is a very unsettling question to put to people because there are simply no good answers. Those of us who were kids in the 50s and 60s know how to “duck and cover.” Although it was worthless advice, we wouldn’t even have enough time to teach that under this scenario. We never hear anything about nuclear preparedness or nuclear shelters any more. Does that make us even more vulnerable?

Let’s look at what we could do here at MNSU. CSU Director Mark Constantine said that we have the tornado shelter system. I would assume that under the given scenario, additional instructions might include sheltering near a north-facing wall and away from any entryway where the heat wave, which follows the initial concussion shock wave, would likely enter the buildings. Of course, if you haven’t downloaded a Geiger counter app for your cell phone, you might want to do that as well. This is an app that uses your microphone and camera to detect the amount of radiation in your area.

May the force be with you.

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